I’ve got your back, pal. It just may be that I’m putting you between bullet and flesh.
If I drive any point home with my writing, let it be that, in general, our interactions with others are merely business. There is nothing personal behind what we do. Granted, God help you if we make it personal. So when we put you in harm’s way to escape our own threats, believe me when I say that you just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time (for me).
I remember a time before I transitioned between genders – recall that I am transgender. The timing was awkward because I still had much to gain from my family and friends, but I did want to get the ball rolling before too many years went by. So I was left with a dilemma. If I transitioned, I would lose my conservative family’s blind support. If I did not, I would be potentially unsatisfied with life. I chose to move forward, but I also planned to make the news hit as softly as possible, in the event that I could leech them for a while longer.
I needed a proverbial meat shield: someone that could take some of the damage from my eventual fall within the family. I knew of one such person. There was a cherished family member who was a closeted homosexual. I knew that if they came out before I did, that the blow may be softened for me. I also knew that I had the proof to out them should they not do it of their own volition.
So I laid it on the line for that person. I explained to him that ‘in order to be true to himself’ that he needed to come out. I pressured him on a daily basis. I had a goal in mind, had some respect for him, and hoped that I would not have to resort to Plan B. He did not come out of his own will, so I realized that my meat shield would have to be held up by my own two hands. I proceeded to out him with the evidence I had and he took a glorious fall in the eyes of the family. In the end, it did not matter for me as my family took my own ‘bad news’ especially poorly, but at least I tried to make the pill easier to swallow.
You may think that you are off-limits. That you know me too well. You may think I would not betray you. You may think that you’d never take the fall that I deserve. You would be wrong. It’s just business and, if you are a good investment, you will be used to save my own skin. My armor is made of fools that got too close. Some use kevlar, some use chain mail, I use the people around me. Whether this is achieved by a clever use of ‘evidence’ to make others blame you for my own faults or by getting you to take a preventive fall, it does not matter. Ultimately I’m looking out for myself and if the reward of using you as my shield outweighs the benefit of keeping you close in an amicable fashion, I will often turn toward the former. I’d rather the bullet be lodged in your ribcage than mine.
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